Hawaii is known for its breathtaking beaches, lush greenery, and unique culture. But did you know that the state is also home to some of the world’s best coffee?
Hawaiian coffee is one of my favorites: it hits my palette just right! With such a mineral-dense soil thanks to its volcanoes and pure islands, coffee from this region are unlike any other on the market.
In this article, I’ll explore some of the best brands of Hawaiian coffees that I’ve had the pleasure of trying over the years as well as the varieties and help you decide which one is the best for you. Please keep in mind that the coffees I recommend here are the ones I absolutely love!
Which Hawaiian Coffees Are the Best?
When it comes to choosing the best Hawaiian coffee, these are my highly recommended ones that I have been drinking and enjoying for YEARS! Here are my top 7 picks:
#1. Maui Coffee Company
Founded in 2002, this Kona-based roaster is known for its award-winning coffees grown on the slopes of Mauna Loa. With options ranging from light to dark roasts, Maui Coffee Co. produces some of the best Hawaiian coffee around.
#2. Kauai Coffee
A family-run business, Kauai Coffee has been producing Hawaiian coffee for over 30 years. They offer a wide variety of coffees grown on the beautiful island of Kauai, from light to dark roasts and flavored options like macadamia nut and coconut.
#3. Blue Horse Kona Coffee
This award-winning coffee company offers some of the most unique Hawaiian coffees. Their signature roast is a blend of beans from the neighboring islands, giving it an intense and complex flavor.
#4. Royal Kona Coffee
Royal Kona has been producing coffee for over 50 years. Their signature blend of beans from the Kona coast creates a smooth, flavorful cup of coffee.
#5. Kona Joe Coffee
This small-batch roaster specializes in rare coffees from the Kona region of Hawaii. Their coffee beans are handpicked and carefully roasted to perfection, creating a unique flavor profile like no other.
#6. Hualalai Estate Coffee
This premium brand of coffee is produced on the slopes of Hualalai, making it some of the most sought-after coffee in Hawaii. Their coffees are rich and full-bodied with hints of vanilla and spice.
#7. Volcania Coffee
This company is located on the Big Island of Hawaii and produces some of the best Hawaiian coffees around. Their signature blend has notes of chocolate, nuts, and fruit.
Varieties of Hawaiian Coffees
Now that I’ve covered my most highly recommend brands for you to try, let’s cover the different regions and varieties of these exotic beans.
#1. Kona Coffee
One of the most famous and expensive Hawaiian coffees is Kona coffee, which comes exclusively from the Kona district on the west coast of the Big Island. The volcanic soil and sunny climate give Kona coffee a smooth, nutty flavor with hints of cocoa. Because Kona coffee is so sought after, it can be difficult to find authentic Kona coffee at a reasonable price.
#2. Maui Coffee
Maui coffee comes from the slopes of the dormant volcano Haleakalā on the island of Maui. The rich volcanic soil, high elevation and cool climate make Maui coffee famous for its bright acidity and fruity notes of citrus and berries. Compared to Kona coffee, Maui coffee has a tangy and bright taste profile.
#3. Kaʻu Coffee
Kaʻu coffee comes from a region on the southern part of the Big Island. This coffee is less famous but is widely considered a hidden gem by coffee connoisseurs due to its robust taste. Kaʻu coffee has a smooth, earthy flavor with hints of chocolate and caramel. The region has a higher humidity level compared to Kona coffee so it is planted and grown differently.
#4. Molokaʻi Coffee
Molokaʻi coffee comes from the tiny island of Moloka’i, which has been producing coffee for over 200 years. The volcanic soil and tropical climate give Moloka’i coffee a bold, spicy flavor with notes of cinnamon and cloves. Molokaʻi coffee can also be considerably less expensive than other Hawaiian coffee varieties.
#5. Puna Coffee
Puna coffee is a new addition to the Hawaiian coffee scene, grown in the fertile volcanic soil of Puna on the Big Island. Puna coffee is known for its nutty flavor, with hints of caramel and spice. It is also often characterized as organic and produce is limited since plantation production was only established in 2000s.
What is the Most Famous Coffee in Hawaii?
The most famous coffee in Hawaii is Kona coffee, which comes exclusively from the Kona district on the Big Island. The volcanic soil and sunny climate give Kona coffee a smooth, nutty flavor with hints of cocoa. Definitely one of my favorites and something you should give a try!
Because Kona coffee is so sought after, it can be difficult to find authentic Kona coffee at a reasonable price. However, some of the other premium Hawaiian coffees can also offer a unique flavor profile that rivals Kona coffee in terms of quality and taste.
What Hawaiian Island Has the Best Coffee?
The Big Island of Hawaii is widely considered to have the best coffee. With multiple regions producing unique and rare varieties of coffee, there is something for everyone. From the world-famous Kona coffee to lesser known varieties such as Ka’u and Puna, the Big Island has something for every coffee lover.
What Does 100% Hawaiian Coffee Mean?
100% Hawaiian coffee means that the beans used to make the coffee were grown in Hawaii. Coffees that are labeled as 100% Hawaiian must have all of the beans grown in Hawaii and not blended with any other coffees from other regions.
In order to be labeled as 100% Hawaiian, the coffee must have a Certificate of Authenticity from the State of Hawaii verifying that all the beans used to create the blend were grown in Hawaii. Such coffees tend to be more expensive than blends, but they offer a unique flavor that is distinct from other coffees.
What is True Hawaiian Coffee?
True Hawaiian coffee is any coffee grown and produced in Hawaii. True Hawaiian coffees are made with 100% Hawaiian-grown beans, which may come from different regions across the islands.
Sometimes, you’ll see a 10% label which means that only 10% of the beans used to make the coffee were grown in Hawaii, with the rest coming from other regions. True Hawaiian coffees will always carry the 100% label and are typically more expensive, due to the limited production. Furthermore, these coffees also tend to have unique flavor profiles that reflect the region in which they were grown.
What is the Most Expensive Hawaiian Coffee?
Hands down, the most expensive Hawaiian coffee is Kona Coffee. This luxurious blend is grown in the famed Kona district on the Big Island, and it is the most sought-after and expensive coffee in Hawaii. Kona coffee also happens to be one of the most renowned coffees in the world, due to its unique flavor profile and high quality. The limited production, combined with the high demand, results in Kona coffee being one of the most expensive coffees in Hawaii.
Kona coffee is also often blended with other Hawaiian coffees, such as Molokaʻi, Puna and Ka’u, to create unique flavor profiles. These blends are still considered to be 100% Hawaiian coffee and tend to be slightly less expensive than pure Kona coffee, but can still be quite pricey.
Still, they tend to be considerably less expensive than other Hawaiian coffee blends that are blended with coffees from other regions.
Why is Pure Kona Coffee So Expensive?
Pure Kona coffee is expensive because of the limited production and high demand. The Kona district on the Big Island is home to some of the most fertile coffee lands in Hawaii, and its unique climate and soil conditions allow for high-quality beans that have a smooth, nutty flavor.
Because of these factors, Kona coffee is highly sought after and in limited supply. This drives up the price and makes pure Kona coffee one of the most expensive coffees in the world.
No matter which Hawaiian coffee you choose, you’re in for a treat. Having drank Kona to Maui and so many other ones from different islands, there’s something about Hawaiian coffee where the taste is just impeccable.
Each region of Hawaii produces coffee with a unique flavor profile that can only be found in that area. As a coffee enthusiast, you should try them all and find out which coffee suits your personal preference. It is best to do research and purchase from reputable shops or directly from the plantation to ensure the quality of the coffee and support local farmers.
Sip a cup of Hawaiian coffee and you’re immediately taken to the tropical island paradise of the Aloha state.